It’s a bad night for Astros pitching when the staff allows 4 runs.
Yeah, really. Entering the game with a 2.34 ERA, which, if it continues for the rest of the season, would break an AL record, tonight the Astros surrendered, horror of horrors, four runs. It was one too many.
Yet, they probably felt lucky that it was that few. Astros pitchers gave up 8 walks and 6 hits. Command was a major issue for most of the Astros’ six pitchers tonight, who together managed to throw only 84 strikes out of 156 pitches.
The problems began right away, as Charlie Morton walked 4 D-Backs in the first inning, but somehow managed to allow only one run.
Morton would not walk another batter for his remaining four innings, yet never achieved command of his breaking ball, gutting his way through five innings pitched, allowing 3 runs. He had only 3 strikeouts.
The second run off Morton came in the second inning off a David Peralta home run, and the third when D-Backs starting pitcher Zack Greinke, who doubled, scored on another Peralta RBI hit. Further damage was avoided by a George Springer bullet from left-center which nailed Peralta trying for second base.
Colin McHugh replaced Morton in the sixth inning, and like Morton also had trouble finding the strike zone, giving up 2 walks and a hit in 1.1 innings, yet managed to escape without conceding a run.
Meanwhile the Astros bats began to chip away at the D-Back’s lead.
George Springer scored the first Astros run with his 7th home run, a 442 ft. solo shot in the fifth.
The Astros tied the game in the eighth when Brian Mcann doubled home Josh Reddick and then pinch hitter Derek fisher doubled home McCann.
Joe Smith and Hector Rondon, the new Astros relievers, each threw perfect innings in the seventh and eighth, respectively. With the score tied in the bottom of the ninth, A.J. Hinch brought in his most trusted relief ace, Chris Devenski (ERA 0.68) to keep it a game.
After surrendering a lead-off bunt single, Devenski succumbed to the contagious no command and control bugaboo, walking two Diamondbacks. With two outs and bases loaded, Brad Peacock was called upon for one more out. On the first pitch, NL player of the month A. J. Pollock immediately slammed a well placed fastball just off of diving Alex Bregman’s glove at third. The Diamondbacks walked off 4-3.
The Astros hitters, for their part, were also recipients of pitcher largesse, walking six times to go with 7 hits. However, they left ten men on base, and hitters 2 through 5 in the order collectively batted 1 for 17. Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa were both hitless.
Zack Greinke started the game for the Diamondbacks, but Brad Boxberger got the win. Chris Devenski took the loss, sending his record to 1-1, and doubling his ERA to 1.29 for the year.
The rubber match of this three game series is tomorrow at 3:10 CDT. Justin Verlander, (4-0, 1.13 ERA), faces David Koch, (1-0, 2.37 ERA).
Box score here